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Congressmen here vote for U.S. trade deal with Canada, Mexico

Two area congressmen voted Thursday to approve a long-sought trade deal with two neighboring countries of the United States.

U.S. Rep. Mike Bost, R-Murphysboro, and Rodney Davis, R-Taylorville, voted for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement — known as the USMCA.

Bost said the deal brings America’s trade relations with Canada and Mexico into the 21st century. It opens Canadian markets up to American dairy, wheat, and poultry products; addresses digital trade; and cleans up unfair trade enforcement provisions.

The Senate is expected to consider USMCA in the new year before advancing to the president’s desk for signature.

“With today’s vote, The House is delivering much-needed certainty to the nearly 70,000 Illinoisans whose jobs depend on fair and free trade with Canada and Mexico,” said Bost. “USMCA will strengthen exports for farmers across my district and is a bright spot in what has been one of the worst years in decades for agriculture. Despite a year of unnecessary delays, I’m glad that we are finally moving forward on this historic agreement.”

Once enacted, USMCA is expected to help create over 176,000 American jobs, $68 billion in new economic activity, and $2.2 billion in annual agriculture exports.

Davis released this statement after the House passed the USMCA by a vote of 385-41.

“I have been fighting for passage of this agreement from day one and I’m glad we finally got a vote in the House,” said Davis. “But it’s disappointing that Speaker Pelosi has waited until after impeachment because now farmers will have to wait even longer for the Senate to be able to consider their top priority. This is not how our government should work. We should be able to set politics aside and move good, bipartisan legislation forward for the people we represent.

“The modernized trade deal will build on the economic growth we have seen and create new, good-paying jobs. I am especially pleased with the expansion of the markets for American farmers, as well as the provisions to incentivize more auto manufacturing and higher manufacturing wages. I applaud the Trump Administration for their diligent work in securing a better trade deal for the American people.”

Local agriculture applauded the support.

“Illinois Farm Bureau greatly appreciates (the) … vocal leadership for USCMA and for recognizing the value of expanded trade between the U.S. and its neighbors,” said Illinois Farm Bureau president Richard Guebert, Jr., who farms in the 12th District. “The largest export market for Illinois corn is Mexico.  This modernized trade agreement maintains our tariff free access to that vital market and opens up the Canadian market for more sales of dairy and wheat from the 12th District. Thanks to Rep. Bost’s leadership Illinois farmers can begin to reap the benefits of expanded trade under USMCA.”

In a separate statement regards Davis, Guebert, a Randolph County grain farmer, said: “No one understands better than Rep. Rodney Davis why farmers in his district and across Illinois must have improved access to international markets. Illinois Farm Bureau leaders and members greatly appreciate Congressman Davis’ leadership and years of service on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee and his understanding of USMCA’s value.  From day one, Rodney has been a vocal advocate, immediately recognizing the importance of an updated, modern trade deal with two of U.S. agriculture’s top three trading partners.”

Bill Leigh, Illinois Corn Growers Association president said the USMCA passage will be stability to the marketplace “that Illinois corn farmers desperately need.”

“Mexico is the largest purchaser of corn and dried distillers grains with soluables. Canada is the second largest purchaser of ethanol. Together, our neighbors make up our largest and most reliable customers for corn and 25 percent of U.S. agricultural trade. I am so pleased and grateful for an agreement that solidifies our relationship,” Leigh said.

Archer Daniels Midland also saluted the vote. In a statement it said: “ADM greatly appreciates the leadership shown by members and the leadership of the House of Representatives as well as the Administration in supporting USMCA. This agreement is a good deal for the agriculture and food industries in all three countries, offering access to markets along with important modernizations. We look forward to continuing to work with policymakers toward a successful implementation.”

The Illinois Soybean Growers, Grain and Feed Association of Illinois, and manufacturers all had praise.

“Trade is critical to Illinois manufacturers and the 592,000 women and men working on factory floors across the state. No trade relationships are more important that Canada and Mexico that purchased 40 percent – $27 billion – of Illinois’ manufactured exports last year. We applaud Congressman Davis for supporting the USMCA trade agreement that will benefit our local manufacturers,” said Mark Denzler, president & CEO, Illinois Manufacturers’ Association.

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